An already-streamlined version of pot pie is made even easier with the substitution of precooked vegetarian chicken (made from soy-based protein). The crust is baked separately while the filling cooks on the stovetop.
To some, the smell of vegetarian chicken in this dish may be pronounced or offputting. The original recipe, called Turkey Pot Pie in a Pan, uses 2 1/2 pounds of turkey drumsticks that are first browned in a skillet and then braised in vegetable-filled chicken broth for 1 hour, until the meat falls off the bone. The skin is discarded and the meat cut into small pieces.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 large (10 to 12 ounces) russet potato, peeled and cut into small dice
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 store-bought or homemade pie crust dough (for a 9-inch pie)
- 14 to 16 ounces vegetarian chicken (nuggets, slices or drumsticks)
- 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large skillet (10 or 12 inches in diameter) over medium heat, until it shimmers. Add the onion, celery, carrot and bay leaf; cook, stirring, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened. Add the broth; when it has heated through, add the potato, cream and thyme. Increase the heat to medium-high to bring the mixture just to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
Roll out or trim the pastry dough to a circle 1/2 inch larger than the diameter of the skillet. Transfer to the baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
When the pastry has about 10 minutes left in the oven, cut or tear the vegetarian chicken into small pieces (smaller than bite-size). Add to the pot-pie mixture in the skillet along with the peas and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring, or until those ingredients are heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Discard the bay leaf. Remove from the heat and place the baked pastry crust on top of the mixture in the skillet. Serve hot, at the table.
Based on a recipe from "Braises and Stews: Everyday Slow-Cooked Recipes," by Tori Ritchie (Chronicle, 2007).
Tested by Mary Pat Flaherty.
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